CUSTODIAN of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Thursday called for an intensified and united fight against terrorism. The call came in his speech to Indonesia’s parliament during the second day of his landmark state visit to the world’s most populous Muslim country. “We have to stand united in confronting the challenges, faced by the world in general and the Muslim Ummah in particular. The foremost of these challenges include the phenomenon of extremism, terrorism, clash of cultures, non-respect of the sovereignty of nations, and interference in internal affairs,” he said while calling for “closing ranks and exerting coordinated efforts to serve our common interests and bring global peace and security for the benefit of all of us.”
Earlier on arrival at the parliament house, the King was received by House Speaker Setya Novanto and other senior deputies and officials. Novanto described the King’s visit as historic, saying that this would further bolster the fraternal relations between the two countries. He also lauded the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its future ambitious goals. The speaker also stressed the need for enhanced cooperation in achieving peace and security as well as to confront challenges.
In his speech, King Salman thanked the government and people of Indonesia for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him and the accompanying delegation. He also lauded the significant role being played by the parliament in strengthening the bilateral relations in all fields. The King also presented a memento to the speaker.
In the presence of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, King Salman later met with a number of Islamic leaders and scholars at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. Addressing the gathering, Widodo expressed his immense pride over the presence of the King who has been rendering immense contributions in serving Islam and Muslims. Those who attended the meeting included at least 36 prominent Islamic figures such as Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Maruf Amin, Muhammadiyah Chairman Yunahar Ilyas, Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama Said Aqil Siradj, Chief of MUIs Advisory Council Din Syamsuddin, leader of Gontor Islamic boarding house Hasan Abdullah Sahal, leader of Walisongo Islamic boarding house Kholil Asad, and Islamic teachers Arifin Ilham and Yusuf Mansur. Speaking on the occasion, Maruf said King Salman’s visit to Indonesia is monumental because he plays a remarkable role as Custodian of Two Holy Mosques.
He expressed the hope that Saudi Arabia will increase investment in Indonesia as the world’s predominant Muslim country. “We only hope that he will pay greater attention to Indonesia and I think Saudi Arabia highly needs Indonesia which has neutral foreign policy,” he said. Maruf likened the close relations between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia to relations between two brothers. The two countries established relations long before Indonesia proclaimed its independence. The King also planted a tree at the palace on the occasion of his historic visit to Indonesia.
King Salman also visited Jakarta’s Istiqlal mosque, the biggest in Southeast Asia and a huge cultural landmark in Jakarta. Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and the mosque Imam Dr. Nasruddin Omar and other officials received him.
Accompanied by President Joko Widodo and other leaders, the King prayed at the mosque.
King Salman presented a Qur’an calligraphy piece embroidered with gold threads on thick black cloth that looks like a thick black veil of tapestry covering Kaba (kiswah) to the mosque.
On Wednesday, the first day of the visit, King Salman held officials talks with President Widodo at Astana Presidential Palace in Jakarta. The two leaders also oversaw signing of 11 pacts aimed at boosting ties and cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields. Widodo decorated King Salman with the “Star of the Republic of Indonesia,” which is the highest medal of Indonesia in recognition of the King’s efforts in various fields. The King also attended a luncheon banquet hosted by Widodo.
King Salman will meet a number of interfaith leaders in Jakarta on Friday, Religious Affairs Minister Saifuddin said. “The King will meet interfaith leaders after Friday prayers. The meeting will be held the State Palace or at Raffles Hotel,” the minister said.
The King will leave for a vacation to the Indonesian tourist resort island of Bali Saturday to stay there until March 9.